Friday, 13 November 2015

Top 5 One Hit Wonders - Chop's Picks

As I mentioned with last week's collaborative vote result, I was surprised by the variety of songs people voted for in this category. I realise now that has a lot to do with what people consider a one hit wonder and, true to form, I've pushed the definition a bit for some of my selections.

1. "Rescue Me" Fontella Bass - I've seen this described as the best song Aretha Franklin didn't sing. Fontella's vocal is very similar in range to Aretha's but this is a marvelous song. She had a number of minor hits in the US but Rescue Me was her only UK Top 30 single.

Some interesting tidbits from Wikipedia - Minnie Riperton provided background vocals, and Maurice White and Louis Satterfield, later of Earth, Wind & Fire, were on drums and bass respectively. Also, discussing the call-and-response sections with The New York Times, she said, "When we were recording that, I forgot some of the words... Back then, you didn’t stop while the tape was running, and I remembered from the church what to do if you forget the words. I sang, 'Ummm, ummm, ummm' and it worked out just fine".

2. "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" Urge Overkill - A cover of the Neil Diamond song that featured on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, it peaked at 37 in the UK charts but gave the band their only UK Top 40 single. So, possibly scraping my definition of a "hit" (especially as Fontella Bass' reached 32 with Recovery the follow up to Rescue Me) but I'm going to include it as it's appearance in Tarantino's excellent second movie (see the 2nd video below) made a huge impression - Uma Thurman dancing round the room while John Travolta convinces himself not to do anything silly with Marsellus Wallace's Wife before walking back downstairs to find that she's just overdosed on bad coke.

3. Echo Beach Martha & The Muffins - A proper hit, reaching number 10 in the UK in 1980. This was one of my favourite songs included on a New Wave compilation called The Sound Of The Suburbs. I always associated it with Chesil Beach in Dorset which might have something to do with the barrier style beach that featured on the cover of the seven inch release.

4. 96 Tears Question Mark & The Mysterians - I first heard this thanks to a cover by the Inspiral Carpets that featured on their first, self-released, album Dung 4. The original was a US number one and in the band's homeland they scored other hits but in the UK this was their only charting single (making 37 in 1966). The Stranglers also covered the song and got to 17 with it in 1990 making their version the best known for UK listeners.

5. Pipeline The Chantays - An instrumental surf rock standard that gave the US band their only UK Top 75 in 1963 when it peaked at number 16. I know this best thanks to the cover that Johnny Thunders included on his magnificent debut LP, So Alone.


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